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North Korea is currently undergoing a significant political shift, perhaps the biggest since its inception in 1948. Earlier this week, Kim Jong-un, the country’s Supreme Leader, transferred a range of important powers on to his sister, Kim Yo-jong. Some other responsibilities bestowed upon his aides.
Yo-jong will now head Pyongyang’s policy regarding the US and South Korea.
This now places her, many have argued, in one of the country’s most privileged and powerful positions as the North’s future depends on negotiations with Washington and Seoul.
The reports first emerged via South’s National Intelligence Service spy agency.
It said the revelation came during a closed-door briefing on Thursday to South Korea’s National Assembly, which lawmakers present later discussed with journalists.
The agency was quoted as saying: “Kim Jong-un is still maintaining his absolute authority, but some of it has been handed over little by little.”
It was quick to dispel myths over the leader’s health.
Despite this, the country still appears to remain committed to its rhetoric against the US and the South.
And, according to Retired Lt. Gen. Chip Gregson, the Pentagon’s top Asia official from 2009 to 2011, who contributed to a 2018 Vox report, the North is willing to conduct mass killings in order to press ahead with its fundamental aims.
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He mentioned how the country might use chemical agents on opponents and civilians, and explained: “VX is the worst of the worst.
“It’s a crowd killer.
“It’s odourless, colourless, and doesn’t dissipate quickly.
“The fact that they were able to use it so precisely — to kill only one person and not even injure the two handlers — indicates a high degree of technical skill and a clear willingness to use a weapon of mass destruction against civilian targets.
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“That needs to be factored into the equation when we think about what Kim would do to preempt an attack or retaliate for one.”
Many have noted hope at the transfer of power, arguing that it could spell out a gradual dissolution of the dictatorship.
However, experts have said that with the North’s goal of unification of the Korean Peninsula under the Kim family still the country’s main goal, change is unlikely to come anytime soon.
The point of unification is so important to the North that it is officially written into the country’s constitution.
Yet, as Yochi Dreazen argued in his Vox report, unification is near impossible as things stand.
This is because South Korea remains heavily militarised by US troops.
He reasons that it is unlikely that the North would be able to overcome the US’ presence in the South should it wish to invade and capture the country.
Further to this is the fact that “Washington is formally committed to going to war on the South’s behalf” should the North ever consider an attempt at aggressive consolidation.
Mr Dreazen said: “So, if Kim actually wants to try to reunify the two Koreas, he needs to somehow break up the US-South Korea alliance.”
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